Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Poetry Tuesday: "Cassandra Considers the Dust"

I woke up feeling like I had dreamed about home repairs for much of the night.  None of the houses in my dreams was my current house.  In the dream just before I woke up, it was a beautiful Victorian in disrepair, and I was not only remodeling it as living space, but also putting in a beauty parlor upstairs.

We are in that stage of home repair when I feel like we will never be done.  I am not surprised my dreams reflect this state.

It is interesting to read The Uninhabitable Earth while making these kinds of housing decisions.  Why buy the beautiful but expensive copper tiles for a backsplash if we're just going to get out when we can figure out how?

My Facebook feed is a mix of people, and the theology minded among us are keeping an eye on the decision of the United Methodist Church about a way forward when it comes to LBGTQ issues.  Here, too, my inner Cassandra wonders how we've all let ourselves get so distracted by issues that do seem important, until one ponders the trajectories of climate change and the current decisions we're making.

I'm also tired of how hard it is to know where to put some of my stuff.  Parts of my closet aren't easily accessible, and I've filled up the few shelves that are open with books and other stuff that needs a flat space.  Part of me has been waiting for the house to be restored--why move things twice?  Part of me worries about the front bedroom, the part of the house that is most tipping toward chaos, and how much it looks like an episode of The Hoarders.

I thought of my poem about Cassandra and the question of the dust.  Let me post it here for our Tuesday reading pleasure.  It was first published in Southern Women's Review, and I included it in my latest chapbook Life in the Holocene Extinction.

Cassandra Considers the Dust 

By day, she talks to her patients
about the implications of their high
cholesterol levels, their spikes
in blood pressure, their weight that creeps
ever higher. As she prescribes
medication, she recommends more
exercise, more vegetables.

She stays late at night to monitor
the ones who succumb to surgery.
She has split open chests
to scoop out the gunk that clogged
the intricate roads of the interior.
She has reshaped routes and patched
together with delicate stitches.

She leaves the computers on the ramparts
to keep watch. She thinks of monks
in distant monasteries who chant
prayers while most of humanity dreams.

She drives home to her dark house.
Inside, she turns on one dim
light. She doesn’t want to see
the dust. She can’t remember
the last time the house enjoyed
a deep cleaning.

She thinks of rising oceans
and wonders how long
until the house sinks
into the sea.
She leaves the dust
to its own devices.

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